Politicians that could have lived longer

Leo Ryan- murdered by Jim Jones' cult
Paul Wellstone- plane crash
Allard Lowenstein- assasinated
Lurleen Wallace, first female Alabama governor, perhaps she divorces George and does her own thing?
Jack Swigert- Apollo 13 astronaut, elected to Congress but died of cancer prior to his swearing in.
Nile Kinnick- grandson of a governor, all star football player, heisman trophy winner, expected to go into politics but died during WWII.
Bob Lafollette Jr- progressive senator and son of fighting bob, driven to suicide by joe McCarthy's "crusade"
Joe McCarthy- died of causes relating to alcoholism
Mickey Leland, Mel Carnahan, JFK Jr, Nick Begich, Hale Boggs, Jerry Litton...what is it with Democrats and plane crashes?
 
Mickey Leland, Mel Carnahan, JFK Jr, Nick Begich, Hale Boggs, Jerry Litton...what is it with Democrats and plane crashes?
Not just Democrats... there's also John Heinz, John Tower, Ted Stevens... although the latter two died after they left office (and in Stevens' case he was in his 80s).

But John Heinz could have been a presidential candidate for the Republicans in 1996 or 2000 had he lived.

Another Democrat killed in a plane crash: Ron Brown. Had he lived, maybe he could have been elected New York's first black governor.
 
But if William McKinley is not killed in September 1901 (yes this qualifies) TR probably never makes it to the White House, or at least not in the OTL time frame. A full term McKinley, who was very popular, and with Mark Hanna in control of the GOP, would never have sanctioned the nomination of 'that madman' for the Presidency. In that era VP's were never considered Presidential material anyways. McKinley maintains orthodox GOP policies, which were achieving good growth and an orthodox Republican, most likely Fairbanks, is nominated and wins in 1904. But with the economic crash in 1907 the Democrats may then be probable winners in 1908 and it may finally be time for WJB to become President. After this Mothra reigns supreme.
The Republicans won in 1908, crash or no crash. Would like to imagine a Roosevelt - Bryan campaign.
 
Aldo Moro - was in the midst of working out a historic political accommodation between the Christian Democracy Party and the Italian Communist Party when he was spectacularly kidnapped and killed.
 
Which politicians that died in the 20th and 21st century could have lived longer? How would their survival affect Historical events?
I want to limit the discussion to politicians whose death was caused by Murder, accident or disease.
Authority figures in dictatorships should be counted as politicians in this context.
Olaf Palme, Sweden's PM.
 
Paul Wellstone is one I personally would've liked to see have a longer life and career. I don't know realistically about his presidential prospects, but I wonder if come 2008 he would be able to ride a populist economic wave to victory, especially if the economy crashes around the same time as IOTL.

Not sure he necessarily counts as a politician, but JFK Jr. is another one. There were of course rumors of him running for Senate, or Governor of NY, though I think those are mostly unfounded. Either way I wonder if he'd have gone into politics if he lived, certainly it's not unthinkable. How well he'd do is another question.
 
Not a politician, but one that could certainly have an impact on politics is Kaiser Friedrich III.
At first, he would be at odds with Bismarck but he'd be the emperor and as such, in 1910s Germany he would have the power to influence the politics (read: foreign policy) of the country and very probably steer his nation in a much different path than OTL. Looking at the way OTL WW1 shaped the 20th -and 21st- centuries, the amount of butterflies here is gargantuan.
 
Which politicians that died in the 20th and 21st century could have lived longer? How would their survival affect Historical events?
I want to limit the discussion to politicians whose death was caused by Murder, accident or disease.
Authority figures in dictatorships should be counted as politicians in this context.
The one Kazcinzky twin brother who died in plane crash 2010. The question is how authoritarism in Poland would have had developed if both twins are active as PIS polkticans.
 
Last edited:
Not a politician, but one that could certainly have an impact on politics is Kaiser Friedrich III.
At first, he would be at odds with Bismarck but he'd be the emperor and as such, in 1910s Germany he would have the power to influence the politics (read: foreign policy) of the country and very probably steer his nation in a much different path than OTL. Looking at the way OTL WW1 shaped the 20th -and 21st- centuries, the amount of butterflies here is gargantuan.
Story in If It had Happened Otherwise-If the Emperor Frederick Had Not Had Cancer
 
Paul Wellstone is one I personally would've liked to see have a longer life and career. I don't know realistically about his presidential prospects, but I wonder if come 2008 he would be able to ride a populist economic wave to victory, especially if the economy crashes around the same time as IOTL.

Not sure he necessarily counts as a politician, but JFK Jr. is another one. There were of course rumors of him running for Senate, or Governor of NY, though I think those are mostly unfounded. Either way I wonder if he'd have gone into politics if he lived, certainly it's not unthinkable. How well he'd do is another question.

To my understanding JFK Jr passed on the NY Senate race once Hillary Clinton jumped in; instead he was planning on running for Governor in 2002.
 
Ireland might have been very different had Arthur Griffith and/or Kevin O'Higgins lived longer. O'Higgins especially managed to balance being a revolutionary with conservative sympathies and a willingness and ability to work with the British.
 
First the assassinations:
Michael Collins - Had he lived Irish history would have changed completely. de Valera wouldn't have dominated irish politics for 30 years, and there would have been no Fianna Fail dominance (and consequent arrogance and corruption) so a healthier irish democracy. Collins was a believer in free trade, and the need for ireland to industralise to become competitive, there would have been no 30s trade war, and the economic reforms proposed by Lemass and Whitaker would have happened a generation earlier. So rarely is there a case of one man's death having such an overwhelmingly negative effect on his country

Huey Long - A big AH favourite, had he lived i doubt he'd be able to ensure Roosevelt's defeat in 1936, but come 1940 or 1944 he would become a major player. Bare in mind he was 3 years younger than Dwight D. Eisenhower, he might not necessarily have become President in the 30s or 40s. Intriguing what his role might have been come the desegregation battles of the 50s though, would he have become a demogogue like Wallace or Thurmond, or sought to be a moderate on civil rights in order to remain palatable to the wider electorate?

Airey Neave - Escaped from Colditz and became a Tory MP, responsible for Thatcher's victory in the 75 tory leadership contest and shadow northern ireland secretary when he was blown up by the IRA. His tenure at northern ireland would have been interesting.

Other deaths:

Jose Sanjurjo - had he not been stupid enough to fly in an inadequate aircraft he would have been dictator of Spain in Franco's place. He might have been open to joining the Axis during WW2, with significant implications. Otherwise he would likely have died by the mid 1950s (he was born in 1872), with it being likely Spain would have become a democracy at least a decade earlier than OTL

Evan Durbin - one of the main Labour economic thinkers in the 30s and 40s and a really interesting figure. Personal assistant to Attlee during the war, he was elected M for Edmonton in 1945 and PPS to Chancellor Hugh Dalton from 1945-1947. Died rescuing his daughter from drowning on the Cornish coast in 1948, shortly before he was due to enter cabinet in a reshuffle. Had he lived he would have become a cabinet minister, might even have become Chancellor in Gaitskell's place in 1950 and potentially even leader. Either way he was destined to be one of the leading figures in the Labour Party in the 50s, instead he's a footnote no one has even been bothered to write a book about.

David Penhaligon - Liberal M for Truro 1974-86. A charismatic politician who's thick cornish accent was instantly recognisable. Was President of the Liberal Party from 1985-86, and Liberal-SDP alliance shadow chancellor from 1985. Killed in a car accident in December 1986. Had he lived would have been a very strong contender to become Liberal Democrat leader when David Steel retired

Hugh Gaitskell - Had he lived he would almost certainly have become PM in 1964 with a larger majority than Wilson in OTL.

John Smith - ditto to Gaitskell but 30 years later. Would have been an excellent PM.

Robin Cook - would have returned to cabinet when Brown became PM, maybe even as Deputy PM. He might even have been a plausible leadership candidate in 2010.

Harold Holt - The Found Prime Minister: An Australian Politics wikibox tl | alternatehistory.com

Pompidou has been previously mentioned in this thread. He'd already made plans to run again in 1976, and would likely have won against Mitterrand.

Tony Crosland - had he lived he would have swapped jobs with Healey in the autumn of 1977 to become Chancellor. If Labour still lost office in 1979 he would have contested the leadership again. He was a less abrasive character than Healey so would have been less likely to rub MPs up the wrong way, which would have helped him in the 1980 leadership election, which he might well have won. Labour would probably still have lost the 1983 election, but there wouldn't have been an SDP breakaway and Labour would likely have returned to office in 1992.

Oliver Stanley - The de-facto tory shadow chancellor from 1945-50, would have been chancellor in the 1951 government had he lived. A very able politician, and perhaps a more plausible successor to Eden in 1957 than either Macmillan or Rab Butler.

Iain Macleod - Chancellor in the Heath government, died after one month in office before he could even deliver a budget. Had he lived Britain would have weathered the economic difficulties of the early 70s somewhat better. Macleod planned to serve 3 years as Chancellor then retire to the House of Lords, whether he would have or not we'll never know.

John Davies - Tory cabinet minister in the 70s and shadow foreign secretary under thatcher. Resigned from parliament when he discovered he had a brain tumour and died shortly afterwards. Would have been in the 1979 conservative government had he lived and been in better health.

Reginald Maudling - chancellor under Macmillan and douglas-Home, narrowly lost the conservative leadership to ted heath in 1965 and became home secretary in 1970. Resigned in 1972 due to ties to the corrupt architect John Poulson, became deeply depressed as a result and an alcoholic and died of cirrhosis aged 61. Had he avoided scandal would probably have been a contender to succeed heath as leader.
 
Jose Sanjurjo - had he not been stupid enough to fly in an inadequate aircraft he would have been dictator of Spain in Franco's place. He might have been open to joining the Axis during WW2, with significant implications. Otherwise he would likely have died by the mid 1950s (he was born in 1872), with it being likely Spain would have become a democracy at least a decade earlier than OTL
Mola, too - another Franco rival, another plane crash.

Leclerc and the Vietnamese prince, both could have positively influence the Indochina war, both died in a plane crash (1945 and 1947).

The Free Poland official who died in the crash of his Liberator in 1943 - was it Sikorski ?

Lin Biao and his clique, died mysteriously when their airliner crashed in September 1971.

The leader of Rwanda whose death started the 1994 genocide - his Dassault Falcon ate a missile while landing.

This algerian minister what was brave enough to try and mediate a ceasefire between Saddam and Khomenei, and ended blown out of the sky https://www.nytimes.com/1982/05/05/...-killed-in-plane-crash-on-way-to-teheran.html
 
Which politicians that died in the 20th and 21st century could have lived longer? How would their survival affect Historical events?
I want to limit the discussion to politicians whose death was caused by Murder, accident or disease.
Authority figures in dictatorships should be counted as politicians in this context.
Teamster Boss Jimmy Hoffa if he didn't disappear. Not a Politican in the sense of the word but a powerful Union leader.
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
A potential future politician lost when Raymond Asquith was killed on the Somme 1916. Like many who die young, his reputation never had time to be tarnished by events, and was apparently regarded as a future PM.
 
The big WI for New Zealand is Norm Kirk, who died in office in 1974. He'd won a landslide (by NZ terms) in 72 but his successor lost to the opposition's Rob Muldoon in 75, who also won a landslide.
Whilst Kirk could have lost to Muldoon as well, it is usually assumed he would not have. So had he lived and led Labour to 1 victory in 1975, that would either delay or stop Muldoon's ascent to prime minister. Which would be pretty huge, as Muldoon's impact on modern New Zealand is really rather hard to downplay.
 
Top